Friendship Books or FBs, abbreviated? Postal pen pals have swapped these little handmade booklets with each other for many years. I remember receiving my first FB when I was a teen around 1985. In the early 2000’s I attended a pen pal picnic, and an older woman remembered them back in the 1950’s. I love history, and have often wondered exactly when and how FBs got started. I suppose we may never know.
What is the point of a FB? It is a way to find new pen friends. When an FB is received, you can sign it. Signing it, at minimum, involves placing your name and address in it. But some include more, such as their age, hobbies, and anything specific they may or may not be looking for in a pen pal. I always include some of these “more” things, as I am not willing to write someone based on a name and address alone. And if someone writes me, I hope it is because they thought we had some things in common.
The FB is passed around until it is full of names and addresses. Then what? Well, an FB on the front page says “FB for” and “FB by” – one pen friend may make it for another pen friend, or you can make it for yourself (the for and by would be the same). When full, technically it should be returned to the person it was made for. However, this does not happen very often. I guess people don’t want to spend the postage. But regardless, as the FB is passed around, it is a way to find new pen friends.
Lately, whenever I make an FB, I write:
FB for: the last person to sign it. Enjoy!
FB by: me
Generally, a FB is small pieces of paper stapled together in the corner. Sometimes it has a cover, and sometimes not. I’ve placed two photos below. The first photo has FB’s I have received from others. The other photo has 4 new FBs that I made.
Friendships Books can be a way to be creative! You can utilize cute photos or pictures clipped from various sources, stickers, rubber stamps, etc.
FBs can vary in “quality” – from more sloppy to more carefully and creatively put together. Sometimes a pen pal will write that they swap “neat” FBs, meaning they don’t care for sloppy ones. From time to time (not often) I have received a very sloppy FB: the stapled pages are literally scrap paper that already have old writing on them (!), the pages are not cut evenly, vary in size, etc. A mess really! I am not sure why someone would make such a sloppy one?
There are also variations of FBs, such as a “slam” where each page asks the signer a question. Or friendship “sheets” – essentially the same as a FB, except it is on a single sheet of paper.
I have found many great pen friends over the years through FBs.
I’ve been posting a lot this month, and will likely slow down. If you appreciate my blog, do consider sharing it with other pen friends online. Thanks! Note I have links to some other pen pal themed blogs in the right column.